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Beach Cruisers Do you love balloon tires and fenders? Do you love riding the simplicity of a single gear and coaster brakes or a single gear cluster? Do you love the classic curves in the tubing of a cruiser that takes you back to the 1950's and 1960's, stylistically? Here's your home! Welcome to the Beach Cruisers and Cruisers forum!

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Old 10-28-13, 01:01 AM   #1
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Question Old Schwinn parts...proprietary?

I'm looking to get an old Schwinn frame (pre-1965, hopefully) to build into a cruiser. I do have some questions about the old Schwinns that may affect my plans.

Do the old Schwinns have a lot of proprietary parts on them that I'd have to track down sources for, or do they use fairly standard dimensions on the frames and parts (headset and bottom bracket are what I'm most concerned about). I'm not looking to do a faithful restoration or anything, but I don't plan on a bunch of custom work, either.
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Old 10-28-13, 07:49 AM   #2
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The Schwinns of that era, excepting some paramounts, have an American BB hell which will take a standard-size OPC BB. However, the Schwinn OPC's were 28tpi, and took a 9-ball retainer on each side, and many folks feel that the Schwinn cups work best with the Schwinn bearings. For comparison's sake, "standard" OPCs are 24tpi and take a 10-ball retainer on each side. Short story: you can run a Schwinn spec OPC OR a standard OPC in a Schwinn frame, but you'll need to make sure that the BB itself matches the crank. The sprockets are interchangeable. (You may find some variation on the width of American BB shells, side-to-side, but mmost OPCs have enough threads to compensate for this...) 1/2" pedfals for all OPCs, btw.

Headsets: These are 1" threaded, but they are the old-school american bike size, which means anywhere from 32.5mm to 33mm cups. I have found Schwinns from the 50s to be bigger (@32.7) with more recent (1970s) Chicago Schinns to be closer to the "bmx" size of 32.5mm. All take 24tpi forks. Basically, a nice starting point for a current-production headsets would be a tioga beartrap 2, but you may have to shim it a tiny bit. The safest bet is the Wald 4080, which you can make fit, but it will take some MacGuyver moves.

Other than that, basically every Chi-town Schwinn takes a 13/16" seatpost, and the stem will be 22.2mm (7/8") on very old Schwinns, and 21.1mm on the majority of them.

hth
-Rob
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Old 10-28-13, 07:50 AM   #3
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PS- what is the significance of 1965?
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Old 10-28-13, 08:36 AM   #4
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PS- what is the significance of 1965?
Nothing in particular. Most of the frames I've been eyeballing have been early '60s or late '50s, and later Schwinns all seemed to be Stingrays that are too small or else straight-tubed frames that aren't as aesthetically pleasing.
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Old 10-28-13, 08:39 AM   #5
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The Schwinns of that era, excepting some paramounts, have an American BB hell which will take a standard-size OPC BB. However, the Schwinn OPC's were 28tpi, and took a 9-ball retainer on each side, and many folks feel that the Schwinn cups work best with the Schwinn bearings. For comparison's sake, "standard" OPCs are 24tpi and take a 10-ball retainer on each side. Short story: you can run a Schwinn spec OPC OR a standard OPC in a Schwinn frame, but you'll need to make sure that the BB itself matches the crank. The sprockets are interchangeable. (You may find some variation on the width of American BB shells, side-to-side, but mmost OPCs have enough threads to compensate for this...) 1/2" pedfals for all OPCs, btw.

Headsets: These are 1" threaded, but they are the old-school american bike size, which means anywhere from 32.5mm to 33mm cups. I have found Schwinns from the 50s to be bigger (@32.7) with more recent (1970s) Chicago Schinns to be closer to the "bmx" size of 32.5mm. All take 24tpi forks. Basically, a nice starting point for a current-production headsets would be a tioga beartrap 2, but you may have to shim it a tiny bit. The safest bet is the Wald 4080, which you can make fit, but it will take some MacGuyver moves.

Other than that, basically every Chi-town Schwinn takes a 13/16" seatpost, and the stem will be 22.2mm (7/8") on very old Schwinns, and 21.1mm on the majority of them.

hth
-Rob
Cool...thank you. That's exactly what I needed.
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Old 10-28-13, 10:57 AM   #6
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Nothing in particular. Most of the frames I've been eyeballing have been early '60s or late '50s, and later Schwinns all seemed to be Stingrays that are too small or else straight-tubed frames that aren't as aesthetically pleasing.
I gotcha, although you can find 26" Schwinn cantilever frames all the way to the end....

Now, if you want a straightbar, a DX, or a motobike-style frame, you'll need to stick with the older stuff....
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Old 11-12-13, 06:55 PM   #7
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I'm looking to get an old Schwinn frame (pre-1965, hopefully) to build into a cruiser. I do have some questions about the old Schwinns that may affect my plans.

Do the old Schwinns have a lot of proprietary parts on them that I'd have to track down sources for, or do they use fairly standard dimensions on the frames and parts (headset and bottom bracket are what I'm most concerned about). I'm not looking to do a faithful restoration or anything, but I don't plan on a bunch of custom work, either.
Any Schwinn middle weight which they started making in 1955 will have parts that will interchange with any other middle weight including girls bikes. The parts are very easy to find you can even buy lightwieght schwinns that many of the parts will interchange. Unless you have a custom one in mind,,the most economical way is to find one that sat for a long time needs to be greased cleaned and tuned, but is complete or almost complete. I have bought and sold at least 200 hundred of them. I keep about 15 (-:
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Old 11-12-13, 09:40 PM   #8
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Any Schwinn middle weight which they started making in 1955 will have parts that will interchange with any other middle weight including girls bikes. The parts are very easy to find you can even buy lightwieght schwinns that many of the parts will interchange. Unless you have a custom one in mind,,the most economical way is to find one that sat for a long time needs to be greased cleaned and tuned, but is complete or almost complete. I have bought and sold at least 200 hundred of them. I keep about 15 (-:
Cool! Thank you.
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Old 11-14-13, 09:43 PM   #9
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As it turns out, I'm following another path...namely, an early-70's Raleigh Sport.
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Old 11-15-13, 12:32 AM   #10
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Those are cool, too. Look to Sheldon if you need info about their many frustrating idiosyncrasies.
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Old 11-15-13, 12:36 AM   #11
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Those are cool, too. Look to Sheldon if you need info about their many frustrating idiosyncrasies.
I spent most of my work day today reading Sheldon Brown.
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Old 12-04-13, 08:13 AM   #12
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Old 12-05-13, 07:05 PM   #13
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I like that Jaguar, all orig?
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Old 12-05-13, 11:55 PM   #14
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I like that Jaguar, all orig?
The Jag is all original cept the tires
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Old 12-06-13, 05:25 AM   #15
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Id love to see a few clear, detailed pics of it!
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Old 12-06-13, 06:17 PM   #16
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Nothing in particular. Most of the frames I've been eyeballing have been early '60s or late '50s, and later Schwinns all seemed to be Stingrays that are too small or else straight-tubed frames that aren't as aesthetically pleasing.
I used to feel that way until Tempest, and I was originally looking for a DX type frame when I spotted her.

And I second the motion, howeeee-Show off your Jag!
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